electric competition
pollution prevention

Brush Wellman proposes increase in beryllium storage;
Citizens demand testing for residents

For immediate release: February 29, 2000

Contact: Sarah Ogdahl (419) 866-9093, 380-8087

Members of the Coalition for a Safe Environment will testify at the Ohio EPA hearing tomorrow night against Brush Wellman's hazardous waste storage permit renewal and air permit modifications.

Brush Wellman, located in Elmore, Ohio, is asking for permit changes that would increase air pollution and allow them to store more beryllium on site. According to the Ohio EPA, the company has requested to increase their emissions of 'particaulte matter' into the air by 4.3 tons a year. Brush officials have also applied to increase their allowable on-site storage of beryllium from 50 pounds to 10,000 pounds.

The Ohio EPA's consideration of these permits comes just after the agency announced it would test its employees who worked at Brush Wellman for beryllium disease. "While testing their own employees for beryllium disease, the Ohio EPA continues to allow this company to pollute the air and water," said Sarah Ogdahl, Northwest Ohio director of Ohio Citizen Action, "Everyone who has ever set foot in that plant should be tested, as well as the people who live around the plant."

The Coalition for a Safe Environment is demanding that Brush Wellman pay for chronic beryllium disease testing for all employees, including contractors and part-time workers, and residents who live near the Elmore facility. The Coalition is comprised of several organizations and many individual members including current and former Brush Wellman employees, residents, beryllium disease victims and environmentalists.